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What Is The Laws for OUI in Massachusetts?


In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts it is illegal to “Operate a Vehicle Under the Influence.” It may also be referred to as an OUI, DUI or DWI. This standard applies to persons charged who fall within the the following categories:


Massachusetts also has what is known as “Melanie’s Law,” which was named for a 13 year old girl who was killed by a drunk driver. It may also be referred to as an "Implied Consent Law." This means that you have consented to take these tests by merely driving on the roads within the state wheneven a peace officer has found probable cause to believe you were driving under the influence of alcohol or a drug influence. Melenies Law, specifically, enhances the penalties associated with 2nd, 3rd, and 4th time offenders. Melanies Law means that if you refuse a breathalyzer test without any prior drunk driving offense, then your license can be suspended for 180 days. Then Melenies Law follows accordingly:

  • With one prior drunk driving offenses, then the suspension will be 3 years

  • With only two prior drunk driving offensesI, then the license suspension will be 5 years

  • With three previous drunk driving offenses, then a lifetime driver's license-suspension will result if you refuse the test


Operation under the influence of illegal drugs can be penalized similarly to operation under the influence of alcohol.


Proof of Impairment

Most OUI defendants submit to a chemical test of their blood or breath because of the implied consent law (i.e. Melenies Law). These tests may be proven to have been ininaccurate. However, the OUI can still be proven by the state if you exhibited signs and symptoms of impairment from alcohol. These can be based on the officer’s personal observations or other sources that prove your mental capacity at the time of the incident.  The Commonwealth only needs to prove that the driver had "a diminished capacity to operate safely." It does not matter whether the defendant drove in an unsafe or erratic manner. A lay witness may offer their opinion regarding a defendant's level of sobriety or intoxication, but not whether the driver had been drunk at the time of operating the vehicle. See the following list of signs and symptoms used at trial:

  • Indications of Impairment

  • Odor of alcohol

  • Slurred speech

  • Confusion

  • Inability to follow simple instructions

  • Poor performance on field sobriety tests

  • Unsteady gait

  • Erratic driving conduct

  • Flushed appearance

  • Asleep at the wheel

  • You admitted to drinking or that you had too much to drink

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